Stuart Weir wrote this piece on Eilish McColgan, who had a magnificent summer on the track and now will debut over the marathon distance at the 2023 London Marathon in April 2023.
Eilish confirms London debut.
Reigning Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Eilish McColgan has been confirmed in the field for the 2023 London Marathon on Sunday 23 April. McColgan was due to run in the 2022 TCS London Marathon last October but sensibly decided to postpone her marathon debut after a summer in which she had competed in 5K and 10K at the World and European Championships and the Commonwealth Games. Her mom, Liz won London in 1996.
Eilish McCoglan, Birmingham DL, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
Eilish commented: “It was disappointing not to have taken part in last year’s TCS London Marathon. I had such a fantastic summer on the track and the plan was always to follow that with my marathon debut in London. But I have been able to take further time to fully prepare for running a marathon and April will come around very quickly so I am extremely excited. The London Marathon is obviously a special event for me and my family with my mum having won the 1996 race and I just can’t wait to experience it for myself.”
Eilish McColgan pushing the pace, The BIG HALF, 4 September 2022, photo by THE BIG HALF
Late last year I asked her if it was inevitable that she would run the marathon at some stage: She told me: “It’s something that we’ve thought about for a long time. I’ve always known that that is the type of runner I am, more strength based than speed, and always have been from a very young age. We can see from training that I have a tendency towards the longer events. It feels more comfortable and comes more naturally. I have always been a bit scared to go up because of the injuries that I have had in the past. I have thought over the years that perhaps I am too injury prone and that I would pick up too many injuries or that I might not reach the mileage needed for a marathon. But over the past two or three years, I’ve realized that I am a lot stronger than perhaps I give myself credit for. And I am overcoming those fears – so what if I get injured – because I used to be scared of that”.
Eilish McColgan takes THE BIG HALF, photo by THE BIG HALF
I also wondered why now: “Paula Radcliffe, my mom even Jo Pavey went up to the marathon. It’s a natural progression that a lot of women at my age make. I think now I’m ready to make that move up in distance. The half marathon gave me a lot of confidence – running 66:26 in February and knowing that that wasn’t 100% either. I feel that I’m capable of getting close to perhaps 65:30 which gives me confidence for the marathon distance because I think you need to be competitive over 10 K and competitive over the half before you move up to the full distance.
Eilish McColgan won the gold in the 10,000m, and then, won the silver in the 5,000 meters at the 2022 Commonwealth games, photos by Scottish Athletics
“That’s what I’ve always wanted to do because I’ve never wanted to go up to the marathon without having nailed the 10 K and the half. I think it’s just the next step in my career and a lot of athletes do it. With age, you don’t get faster over the 1500 but you do get stronger for the longer stuff. So it’s the next step in my career. I don’t know how it will go but we will see and it may be that it doesn’t go as well as I would like and I will be back on the track. And I won’t shy away from that entirely. I think it’s the next logical step and I’m looking forward to it”.
Eilish has nothing to prove to anyone and it will be fascinating to see what she can do over the 26.2 miles of London.